by Rex Wockner
Three thousand people marched in Jerusalem’s gay pride parade June 21, protected by 8,000 police officers.
A man with a bomb was arrested before the parade began. He told police he planned to blow up some bushes to scare people away.
A post-parade rally was canceled, in part because firefighters were on strike and didn’t provide a legally required fire truck.
Ultra-Orthodox opponents shouted at the marchers and tried to break through police lines. At least 18 counterprotesters were arrested.
The truncated parade traveled only about 500 meters.
The majority of anti-gay protesters were at a separate rally. They lit trash bins on fire, chanted psalms, blocked traffic and threw rocks at police.
March opponents also rioted several times in the days leading up to the parade, resulting in 130 arrests.
Gay activist Adam Russo, one of three marchers who were stabbed by an anti-gay protester at the 2005 parade, told the BBC: “We are all frightened but I’m here because of my right to protest. I will be not be shut down by anyone.”
Meanwhile, in Berlin June 23, about 400,000 people turned out for pride. The march’s focus was on discrimination in the workplace and schools. A parade in Athens, Greece, June 23 attracted 1,000 marchers and ended with a concert.